I will be completely sincere and admit that every year up until now I have bought a gingerbread house making kit and bypassed the making of the gingerbread myself. Shame on me. This year, however, I am so determined to do the whole shebang, and if I am going to do so, then I want to do something extravagant. Go big or go home right?
Not only is gingerbread a classic taste of Christmas, but the process of making a gingerbread house is one that can be enjoyed together. My granny used to get all us kids together to make her gingerbread house, and I remember the excitement of getting to choose whatever we wanted to decorate it with. That said, most of the sweets made their way into our mouths rather than onto the house.
The internet is a labyrinth of gingerbread creations, from mansions to cruise ships, but I have worked my way through it to find some impressive looking but still realistically doable ideas for your gingerbread house this year.
1. Snow Globe Gingerbread Houses
Now the gingerbread houses themselves in this example are pretty standard, but I really love the idea of the snow globe that is placed over them. The snow, or coconut shavings, around the bottom of the jar, make it look so authentic and festive.
Although they are relatively simple, the gingerbread houses within the snow globes in this example are incredibly pretty, with such intricate designs. I am usually one to go over the top with everything, but the plain white against the orangey brown of the gingerbread creates a stunning design here.
2. Gingerbread Log Cabin
The attention to detail on this Gingerbread Log Cabin is what makes it so stunning to me. The car with the tree strapped to the top, the wreath on the door, the ‘smoke' coming from the chimney, it really is something to behold.
The materials used in this specific example aren't all edible, but I am sure that you could easily find a way to swap out the non-edible ingredients for edible ones so that you could enjoy eating it as much as you would making it. The cinnamon sticks could be exchanged for chocolate or pretzels for example, and coconut could replace the plastic snow.
3. Gingerbread Nativity Scene
What could be sweeter, both physically and sentimentally, than a little Gingerbread Nativity Scene that you can eat after Christmas?
If you have previously tried and failed at gingerbread house construction, then this might be an excellent idea for you to try, as the house part itself looks incredibly simple to assemble. If you aren't religious, then you could easily swap the nativity characters out for regular gingerbread men and create your own little wintery scene.
4. Graham Cracker Christmas Village
These Graham Cracker Christmas Houses are like the cheat's version of gingerbread houses. Although this might not be the traditional way to do it, if you want the illusion of a gingerbread house, but don't intend to on eat it or take the time to make it, then you can't really tell the difference.
Whether you make it out of gingerbread or graham crackers, I love the overall idea of this little Christmas village set up, and it gives you the opportunity to try out loads of different designs if you're struggling to choose which one to go for. I think it is a lovely alternative to one big gingerbread house.
5. Stone Walled Gingerbread House
If I saw this Stone-walled Gingerbread House in a store window display, then I would dream of being able to make it myself for my own festivities. Finding this recipe put me one step closer to my dreams coming true.
All the little details are just fantastic, like the green sugar tree in the window and the Christmas lights trimming the roof, and I think it truly captures the spirit of Christmas. The stone effect is so cool, and something I haven't really seen done before. This really is something a little different without being overly complicated, so it would be a fun one to try out this year.
6. Gingerbread House Tree Ornaments
We have a couple of fake gingerbread houses on our tree at home, but it has never occurred to me to make my own. I have seen gingerbread shapes on trees before, but I don't think I have ever come across full houses.
You could have so much fun decorating these little Gingerbread House Tree Ornaments however you wanted to, and it would be really special for your kids to decorate some too and then proudly hang them on the tree. You could be really simplistic with plain white icing or really go to town with candy canes, sprinkles, and colors galore.
7. Gingerbread Doghouse
Christmas is a special time for everyone, so let's not forget our little furry friends. This Gingerbread Doghouse would look so cute alongside any larger gingerbread house and would make sure that all the family is involved in the festivities.
If your dog has a doghouse, you could make a tiny replica of it. Otherwise, you could be as creative as you like. I love the red and white bone design used on the roof in this example, and the little piped dogface just moves it up an extra level on the cute scale.
8. Retro Camper Gingerbread House
I think I might just have fallen in love with this Retro Camper Gingerbread House. It is quite possibly one of the coolest things I have ever seen.
It is so unique and so far from the traditional gingerbread house, but still very festive. The bright colors make it stand out, and all the accessories like the flamingo and candy presents are genial. It looks like something I would have loved for one of my many Barbies when I was little. Although I am usually a big fan of the traditional, I think it would take a whole lot of persuading for me not to make this for Christmas.
9. Gingerbread House Cake Border
If you don't want to make a full gingerbread house this Christmas, which is fair enough, but still want to incorporate their magic into your festivities somehow, then this Gingerbread House Cake Border would be just perfect.
The recipe for the houses is straightforward, and the suggested decorating of them is simple but still beautiful. This is a two in one, as you also get a recipe for a delicious Christmas cake. Those who don't enjoy the traditional cake can nibble on the biscuits, and those who do can help themselves to a bit of both. Everyone is happy.
10. Gingerbread Train
I am well aware that this is not a gingerbread house, but if you were going all out and making a full Christmas scene, like I probably will, then this Gingerbread Train could be a really cool addition.
This train could even look really cool as a centerpiece on a Christmas table, and you could fill the carriages with little treats like marshmallows or candies. Although there are many separate parts which need to be brought together, the recipe is actually very simple, and there are templates provided so you can get it just perfect.
11. Gingerbread House with Stained Glass Windows
Candy stained glass windows look so impressive on any gingerbread house, and they are so much easier to make than I ever thought.
The use of different colored candies in this example creates such a pretty effect, but you could easily just use one color if you would rather. The windows look their best if you have some form of light inside the gingerbread house, whether that be a candle or a small set of string lights, as they will make it look like a warm, festive fire is burning within.
12. Gingerbread House Mug Toppers
How incredibly good would it feel to be entertaining guests over the festive period and to be able to offer them a tiny Gingerbread House Mug Topper for their coffee or hot chocolate?
These really are the sweetest little things ever, and if you, like me, always need a little something sweet to munch on along with your hot beverage, then what better to have at this time of year than some gingerbread? There are so many ways in which you could decorate these miniature houses, so don't hold back on the sprinkles and smashed candy canes, they will only make them look more beautiful.
13. Gingerbread House Stand Up Sugar Cookies
Not everyone likes gingerbread, so these cookies would cater perfectly to them. With that said though, I am sure that you could adapt this recipe to use gingerbread too. The delicate little designs in these examples are so sweet, especially with the trees and gingerbread men alongside the houses, and you could certainly have a lot of fun coming up with your own little designs and scenes.
14. Winter Wonderland Gingerbread House
This Winter Wonderland Gingerbread House looks like it has been taken right out of the most magical wintery scene of your favorite Christmas movie.
The roof in this example is a really different idea which would be easy to replicate, and I love that it looks like it has just been covered with a fresh dusting of snow. The icicle effect around the roof of the house makes it look extra chilly but still pretty, and in classic me style, I think it would look really effective to have some edible glitter mixed in amongst the snow.
15. Chocolate Bar Town
Now, this really deviates from the classic gingerbread house, but it is easier to do, and still gives a festive feel in my opinion. The majority of people love chocolate, and there are loads of things you could do to have fun with it.
There are a lot of very specific ideas for decorations in this Chocolate Bar Town recipe, which is fantastic, and you can also think up your own to add to it. You could even take inspiration from more traditional gingerbread houses and replicate them with chocolate. Kids would absolutely love this, and it is far faster to put together than a gingerbread town if that is what you're looking for.
16. Vermont Holiday Gingerbread Farmhouse
If you are someone who makes and decorates a gingerbread house every year, it is always fun to look for new ways to jazz it up.
This Vermont Holiday Gingerbread Farmhouse is a lovely one, and I love how sleek and clean it looks. Whether you stick to this exact design or not, fondant icing is a great way to cover your gingerbread house as it gives it a charming finish. It is much more likely to stay stuck to the gingerbread for longer than piped icing, and when you break it apart to enjoy it, you will get a lovely layer of fondant covering your biscuit.
17. Sprinkle Covered Gingerbread House
I am obsessed with how fun this Sprinkle Covered Gingerbread House looks. It looks as if the entirety of festive fun threw up all over it, in a good way.
This is the perfect way to create a really colorful and eye-catching gingerbread house without going through hundreds of steps and buying loads of decorations that you will possibly never use again. This example has white detailing piped over the top of the sprinkles, which I think looks really effective, but if you wanted to keep it really simple, you could leave this out.
18. Gingerbread Farm Scene
Having a gingerbread display big enough to take up an entire table is the dream, and this Gingerbread Farm Scene looks like it could do just that.
Of course, you wouldn't have to make it massive, you could select a couple of items from this example that you like, or you could go for them all, and even add your own if you wanted to. There are some really cool ideas in there, like all the different identifiable buildings, animals dotted around and the various means of decorating each thing. It would be so much fun to put together, and something you would be proud of afterward.
19. 3D Gingerbread Christmas Tree
I made one of these 3D Gingerbread Christmas Trees with my family last year, and it went down an absolute treat.
I know it isn't a gingerbread house, but it could be either a pairing for one or an alternative to one. It was so much fun to make and then delicious to eat. Those tiny gingerbread men and candy canes are just too cute. Because the assembly of it is merely different biscuits piled on top of each other, it is far less likely to fail than the structure of a gingerbread house, which takes much more concentration. It looks like a stunning little Christmas tree when it all comes together, and there are more than enough biscuits to go around.
20. Gingerbread Tipi
This Gingerbread Tipi would be incredibly easy to make, especially considering that a template is provided.
All that is required is to make the triangles, balance them together to create the classic tipi shape and then ‘glue' them together. You could decorate them with piped or fondant icing, and even pop a little gingerbread man in the doorway. If you have some time on your hands and want to go to town, you could make a few of these and create a little village, with candles sitting between them as makeshift campfires.
21. Colorful Gingerbread House
The recipe for this Gingerbread House is pretty basic, so it is the decorations on this one that I am really interested in.
Whoever made this has really gone all out with the use of frosting and candies, even adding trees, a little door and a couple of gingerbread men to finish the whole scene. They have stayed fairly true to the classic Christmas colors of green, red and white, which makes it even more festive if it wasn't enough for you already.
22. Gingerbread Church
This Gingerbread Church is somewhat of a masterpiece, and you would definitely have some very impressed guests if you made and displayed this in your home this season.
The detailing on this gingerbread is so intricate, and the stained glass windows with the merging colors of candy are stunning. The tiny delicate icicles and the precise piping around the windows would take patience and a steady hand, but I don't think anyone would disagree that the results are entirely worth it. The piped icing on the trees makes them look spiky and realistic which is a nice touch, and the candles inside make it look so welcoming that you want to go inside it yourself.
23. A-Frame Gingerbread House
If you are a gingerbread house beginner or have been previously traumatized by failed construction attempts, then an A-frame Gingerbread House is the one for you.
With the lack of the traditional four walls, which can be a nightmare to stick together, it is very unlikely that a gingerbread house with this structure will fall over. This also gives you a more free reign over the decorations, without having to worry about touching it and all your hard work being ruined. Once you have the basic structure mastered, you can really get creative and let your festive imagination run wild.
24. Gingerbread Noah's Ark
I am fully aware that Christmas is not a celebration of Noah's Ark, but this Gingerbread Ark is still a lot of fun, and there is a basic gingerbread house structure in the center so it still counts.
Kids would have so much fun making all the animals to go into this scene, and it is so bright and colorful which is perfect for harnessing the festive spirit. I love being creative but I prefer doing so when I have a base theme to work around, and this is a great one. It would be lovely watching it all come together, and just as enjoyable to munch on, after sufficiently showing it off of course.
There are far more variations on the traditional gingerbread house ideas than I ever imagined, and I am not against any of them. Christmas is a perfect opportunity to let your imagination run wild, and what better way to do so than by creating an epic gingerbread masterpiece.
I don't think I am going to be able to stop myself from making the retro camper gingerbread house, although the log cabin gives me all those lovely cozy vibes of the mountains, and I'm going to have to get some candy stained glass windows in there somewhere. I can have more than one gingerbread house, right?
Have you ever made a gingerbread masterpiece worthy of international recognition? Are you strictly traditional with your creations or do you like to venture a little outside of the box?